Summary: This sermon addresses how the amount of freedom that we have depends upon how much we yield to the Holy Spirit.
THE SPIRIT OF FREEDOM
Text: Romans 8:1-11
There is the story of a child who was all dressed up with some place important to go. That place was a photographers shop. That little boy and his family were going to have a family portrait made. Dad was going to meet them there. The appointment was half an hour away. They lived 10 - 15 miles away from the portrait studio. The phone rings, the little boy aged 4 or 5, slipped out the back door and went to play in the mud. Mom gets off the phone and finds her son out in the back yard. He is muddy. Even though she is unhappy at the sight of her muddy little boy, she does not throw him away. Why? Because even though her little boy got muddy she does not quit loving her son. Mom scolds him because she reminds him that she told him not to get dirty. Then, she washes him off and gets him dressed again and is able to keep her four o’clock appointment. God is like that with us. It hurts Him that we do not always do what He asks of us. But, He does not throw us away.
The one common thing that makes all people prisoners of the guilt of sin is their inability to defeat sin. God’s law continues to remind us of our trespasses. Since we cannot defeat sin, we try to earn our righteousness. The only problem is that we never feel free from our guilt until God sets us free through Jesus Christ.
God wants us to succeed and experience freedom. Without God’s help, we cannot and will not succeed. God therefore provides a way through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ so that through Him, we might have the chance to become God’s adopted sons and daughters. God’s love for us is unconditional. Our conscience usually lets us know when we have sinned. God knows that until we receive the freedom that He gives to us that we are prisoners and slaves to sin because of our guilt.
LIBERATION FROM THE LAW
The law of sin and death means that the consequences of sin are death. In Romans 6:23, Paul tells us that the wages of sin are death. In Romans 3:23, Paul reminds us that all of us have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. Without the law, we would not know what sin is. Someone has likened the law to an X-ray that reveals the cancer of sin within us. (Alan F. Johnson. Everyman’s Bible Commentray: Romans: The Freedom Letter. Volume 1. Chicago: Moody Press, 1974, p. 105). Consider Romans 3:20: "Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather through the law we become conscious of sin" (NIV). There is no way that we can be justified through the law unless we obey everything that is written in the book of the law (Galatians 3:10). Though the law makes us aware of our sinfulness, it does not break the power of sin. Only Jesus Christ can break the power of sin over the sinner.
Jesus Christ frees us from the condemnation of the law. The requirements of the law had to be met. Jesus was the only One who could meet those requirements. There was no way and is no way that we could do all that the law required. That is why God sent His only begotten Son who was without sin to come and fulfill the law’s requirements. Jesus is both fully human and fully divine. Jesus is God in human flesh. When Jesus met all of the requirements of the law, He made it possible for us to live as freed men and women, because He has broken the power of sin. Jesus freed us from the power of sin when He became our sin offering (Romans 8:3). We do not have this victory unless we believe in Jesus who saves us because our faith in Him.
Go back to the story of the little boy who got dirty before the family portrait was made. Sometimes we are like the little boy in that story. Although we did not mean to, we got dirty and get dirty because of how we took our minds off of how God wants us to live and behave. Sometimes we still find how we get dirty when God wants us to live a life that is in harmony with the Spirit. God wants others who do not know Jesus to be able to see the life of Jesus Christ reflected in the way that we live. God wants us to reflect Jesus. God wants us to be His pictures of Jesus. How we reflect who Jesus is a picture of how well or how poorly we yield to the Holy Spirit who lives in Christians.